WEDNESDAY, June 20 (HealthDay News) -- The teen pregnancy rate in the United States dipped to its lowest recorded level since 1976, a new government report shows.
Teen pregnancy rates fell 40 percent from 1990 to 2008, the latest year for which complete data are available, according to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics.
The report, which details pregnancy rates for 2006 to 2008 for U.S. women aged 15 to 44, also found pregnancy rates were declining among women in their 20s and increasing among women in their 30s and 40s.
Overall, there was a total of 4,248,000 live births, 1,212,000 induced abortions and 1,118,000 fetal losses in 2008. The estimated pregnancy rate for 2008 was 105.5 pregnancies per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44, which is about 9 percent below the 1990 peak, the new report showed.
The U.S. teen pregnancy rate declined continuously during this time period, except for a brief upturn from 2005 to 2006. This decline was more pronounced in younger teens. The pregnancy rate for teens aged 15 to 17 declined by almost one-half from 1990 to 2008, while the rate for older teenagers declined by about one-third over this time period.
Some racial and ethnic gaps in teen pregnancy rates exist. In 2008, pregnancy rates for black and Hispanic teenagers aged 15 to 19 were two to three times higher than the rates for white teenagers.
The overall decline in teen pregnancy seems to be continuing. The researchers report that more recent birth data for teenagers show that the birth rate has continued to fall from 2008 through 2010.
So what is driving these trends? "The overall fertility has dropped a good bit in this country, and pregnancy rates are also going down, presumably because people are more careful about contraception," said Dr. John Santelli, a pediatrician and adolescent medicine specialist who is the chair of the Heilbrunn Department of
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